Photo by Taylor Stout

One of Your Girls

tThe first time Dexter called me, he said he was lonely.

By halle wellington


In this series, Halle Wellington shares original works of fiction imagining the stories behind the songs she loves. This installment is inspired by Troye Sivan’s “One of Your Girls.”


Everyone has something to give. For him, I was willing to give it all. 

Looking back, I never had him. I still haven’t been able to get myself back.


Everyone wanted him. He was beautiful, yes—elegantly gaunt cheekbones and a broad chest that pushed at his shirt—but his looks were only additive to his appeal. Something in him glowed. A sweet, warm, hugging glow. He had a face you wanted to spill your secrets to, a smile that felt personal. He breezed in like summer air. Crowds watched him out of the corners of their eyes as if he might disappear the second they looked away. He felt mine despite the gathering stares—a tether attaching my body to his the second he appeared. It hurts to think everyone felt that. I’ve always wanted what I couldn’t have.

My friends and I frequented Neighborhood often. It didn’t try to be much more than it was, just a bar and a few tables. The dark wood was scratched and stained, shellacked with nights of unwiped spills. It’s lighting was tastefully dim, creating a certain mystery, and the walls were adorned with purposeless treasures that kept it warm. It was always a comforting spot for me, and now I got to share it with him.

As soon as he walked in, he was surrounded by admirers. Swarmed by doe eyes and fluffed hair. A part of me knew he would be mine by the end of the night—a certain arrogance I used to have. He seemed like the type to get tired of girls come last call. I’d become good at sensing that. At closing time, I would be there. I didn’t have to chase. I knew he’d come eventually. And when he did, I thought it was luck.


The crowd dwindled slowly as the night went on. A couple characters peeled off defeatedly each hour. But he stayed. The more the people around him shed away, the clearer his image became. He seemed taller. Around two in the morning, he approached the bar where I was standing; he leaned against the wood with a confident casualness that riled my mind. He smelled of cedar and tangerine. I could have swallowed him whole.

“So, are you famous?” I said.

He glanced at me with confusion, his shirt falling open to reveal a simple chain around his neck.

“The groupies doting on you. They’re fans?” I continued with faked audacity.

“Oh, um, no. I guess I’m just having a good night.”

“Something tells me you’re this handsome every night.”

He gave an innocent shocked expression but I spotted a small fire kindle behind his eyes. Felt it. He liked being complimented by me. He liked me.

“This can’t be your first time being hit on by a man, can it?” I continued.

He chuckled. A deep, melodious chuckle that melted on my tongue.

“You’re smooth,” he responded.

“I’m interested.”

He laughed. “Dexter,” he revealed, pointing to himself. “And no, it is not my first time being hit on by a man. But it might be the first time so bluntly.”

He smiled at me. My very own smile. I wanted to trademark it—let everyone know it was mine.

“Do you like blunt?”

“I like women.”

“I can be that.”

The first time Dexter called me, he said he was lonely. I was on my way to meet some friends but quickly canceled and told him he could come over. That we could talk—if he wanted. I was foolish enough to think I held some sort of power. That since some part of me scared him—and I knew that it did—he couldn’t be the one doing the taking. But that thought started to reveal its naivety the second he was standing before me. I held nothing against this man.
Our eyes met the moment I opened the door to my apartment. His were clear and bright but I couldn’t place the color of them; some mixture of green and blue with a ring of hazel that seeped from his pupil. He was tall and demanding, but never threatening. His shoulders held a constant curve that invited you in and his clothes bunched around his arms like a blanket on an unmade bed. He was a piece of art; something people pay to be able to see. Dripped in color and space—so fragile to the touch. One gentle brush and I could knock off a layer of paint, exposing the hours of work underneath: pictures proven unworthy and hidden. That’s the thing about expensive art: it’s not meant to be touched.

His stare was apprehensive but unrelenting. I got so lost in the depth he demanded and how my splintered door framed him, ushering him in. I must have waited too long before speaking because he took it upon himself to initiate.

“Can I come in?”

All I could do was nod and step aside.

He took a moment to scan around my apartment. His face showed he was half-expecting a rainbow painted over my couch or glitter on the furniture. I’ve done this enough times to know when a guy is relieved to see a neutral color palette.

“Do you want a drink?” I asked, walking towards the fridge.

He only gave me a subtle nod before making himself at home in the living room.

Dexter quickly consumed all there was of me, interspersing conversations with gentle touches and deafening glances—keeping my heart racing. He somehow found the little boy deep within me, craving the attention of someone like him. He fed that boy enough to keep him alive but never enough to gather the strength to leave. He would come to my apartment almost every night. Sometimes, he just wanted someone to talk to. Another person to pass some of the weight he bore—even if I knew he couldn't release it all. It’s strange to see someone so adored grasping for a sympathetic ear.

Other times, he didn’t want to talk at all. It felt as though he would flip a switch the second he dared to enter my bedroom. He didn’t want to talk—at least not with me. Dexter first led me to bed the second time he came over. He wore an ivory linen shirt that revealed his silhouette when he passed by the window in the hallway. His hands were steady and soft but needed mine to guide them. But the more we moved the more I felt his fear melt on my chest: slick like silk. He didn’t open up after and I didnt press. He simply laid his head sturdy against my chest, tapping the beat of my racing heart. We laid like that for hours—until he left. Over the weeks, my bed became used to the weight of his body. My room learned to trap his voice, echoing it long after he left. He never did sleep over—but I slept most soundly the nights my walls sang his praise.

Most of the time, he seemed completely comfortable, sitting among the things we shared: names, lyrics, recipes. He grew to trust me, revealing layers of a person he had long painted over. Yet despite knowing the scar on the nape of his neck or that the one flavor that brings him back to childhood is Marabou chocolate, he always kept me at arm’s length. Creeping closer only created an uncrossable distance between us.


I had only asked to see his apartment. I wanted to know the color of his bedspread. I wanted to know the decor he had chosen, if I would find it tacky. I wanted to see the crumbs from his breakfast lingering around the sink and a blanket thrown in the corner. I wanted to see a part of him that he hadn’t been able to reveal to me. But he knew exactly what I was asking for. 

The first night Dexter and I met, I told him I could be a girl for him. That I could hold him just the same. Love just the same. For a while, that white lie held tight. I, willingly, didn't talk about the part of me—and him—that unsettled him, and he was able to paint an image over me of a person he could stomach being with. But the more layers we shed, the more that image peeled away. I had no idea who that base layer was. And the more I saw that person seeing me as I was, the more I realized what I was doing to myself—the costume I was putting on to appease someone who hated me. In the most flattering light, I was helping. I was allowing him to explore: me, himself, different types of affection. In the most condemning, I was hiding. It wasn’t Dexter. It was me and how I chose to spend my private time. To be a secret. I hated him for dulling what confidence I had built in the person I am. I hated myself even more for consenting with a smile. I hated not hating him.

Soon enough, Dexter didn't trust me to hold him, even when he ached to be touched. I thought somehow we could work. I never had him, looking back. I never had him, and he still has me.

Dexter left quietly and without much fuss. It almost made it worse—the lack of finality. It proved how paltry my role was in all of this. And the longer I went without him, the farther I was able to step back from the painting, and the more of the picture I saw.

I never did see his apartment, the different swatches he hid in corners. I never met his friends or his dog. I never bought him dinner or went on a date with him. He never thanked me for my time or asked how it felt to give it. I got hateful eyes and pained touches. I got resentful sleep and desperate calls. He left me empty—like he scooped out my insides before leaving and shoved them in his backpack. He had taken me with him and left the case behind. 

I was left wondering when exactly I had given myself to him.